Southern Italy was somewhere we had always wanted to visit, from the stunning scenery, delicious food and of course all the Limocello, it was high up on the bucket list. So when a friend suggested a short trip to Southern Italy as an end of summer holiday, I (Camilla) jumped at the opportunity.
The Limocello was calling my name!
We ended up booking the trip over the first weekend of October, just as the season was closing down. We thought this would mean it would be pretty quiet, we’d be able to avoid the rush of tourists who flock to Southern Italy every May to September, but boy were we wrong. Now, I’m not saying it was as busy as it would be in the height of summer – if I’m honest I’m not sure that would be the best time to go – but it was still very popular.
We stayed in Italy for four days, using Sorrento as our base and travelling to Capri and Positano from there. We also wanted to visit Amalfi and Pompeii, but with limited time as well as wanting to relax we decided less is more.
On our first day we landed in Naples International Airport around mid-morning and jumped straight on a coach to Sorrento. The coach leaves from the bus station about a 5-minute walk from arrivals and costs around €10 each. The journey from Naples to Sorrento takes around an hour and a half on the coach, dropping you off just outside Sorrento train station. The coach is much quicker than a train from Naples centre and much much cheaper than a taxi.
Once we’d checked-in and dropped off our bags at the hotel it was time to explore. Now, Sorrento is an adorable place with amazing markets full of trinkets and souvenirs, traditional family run restaurants and beautiful views over the Bay of Naples.
We started our exploration with a walk down Sorrento’s main market, Via S. Cesareo, a tiny alley way with over 50 little shops and restaurants. We visited this street at least once a day throughout our stay in Sorrento, the perfect place to shop.
Next, we headed down to the sea. We walked down the spiralling walkway which takes you from the centre of Sorrento to the marina and beaches – you can get the Sorrento Lift if you don’t feel like walking.
Down by the Sorrento Coast there are plenty of restaurants and beach clubs where you can sit, sunbath, eat and drink. We chose to eat lunch at Peter’s Beach – a caprese salad with the freshest mozzarella paired with a delicious Aperol Spritz, closely followed by a Limocello Spritz. Honestly, what more could you ask for…? We spent hours sitting in the sun, taking in the view and chatting while sipping our cocktails. It was honestly hard to pull ourselves away but we wanted to see what else Sorrento had to offer.
Throughout the afternoon into the evening we found more viewpoints and explored more markets. Ending the evening at an adorable little restaurant called Enjoy The Little Thing – how cute – on Via S. Cesareo. We shared delicious Parma Ham and Melon to start, followed by tomato Gnocchi and Spaghetti Bolognese, of course with some more Aperol Spritz, all for as little as €15 – who said a trip to Southern Italy had to be expensive?
After dinner we slowly made our way back to our hotel, bar hopping on the way of course, we had to sample as many Aperol Spritz and Limoncello Spritz as possible on the first day – how else do you find your favourite?!
If we’re honest following the many Aperol Spritz and Limoncello Spritz sampled the day before we may not have moved too quickly the next morning… but hey, we were on holiday. Our plan for the day was to visit Capri, an island off the coast of Sorrento and Naples. We’d seen many amazing photos from Capri and we couldn’t wait to see it – once we’d finally made it to breakfast at the hotel.
There are three ferry companies which run almost everyday from Sorrento to Capri, if we’re honest we’re not sure which is best, so we simply walked down to the Port of Sorrento and bought tickets for the next available ferry, around €20 each one way. Now, we did have to wait in line about 45-minutes, then another 20-minutes for our ferry to leave, but if we’re honest this was more likely our fault for not being there earlier.
Once the ferry departed it took around 25-minutes to get to Capri, dropping us off at Marina di Capri. Our first stop on the island was the centre of Capri or as the locals call it the Heart of Capri – around a 20-minute uphill walk. The Heart of Capri is a small square which holds restaurants, cafes and shops, but the best thing is the view. The views across Capri are incredible, it truly is a magical island.
Next, our plan was to find a beach and simply not move, unless for gelato. We walked down to Marina Piccola Beach, another 20-minute walk. Now, it was pretty busy, we actually found it hard to find anywhere to lie-down and relax. If we’re 100% honest, we may have chosen another activity on the island if we had known, perhaps a boat trip to visit the Blue Grotto. But, we made it to the beach and we were determined to relax.
After gelato and some sort of relaxation we realised we were still a little peckish. We headed to one of the local restaurants Lo Scoglio Delle Siren for some Bruschetta and a salad. Now, the restaurant did have some good views and the food was pretty nice, but it did cost us €25, €10 more than the two courses and cocktails had cost us the night before. Capri is definitely not as cheap as Sorrento.
To end the day in Capri was watched the sunset from the beach. When then headed back to Marina di Capri to catch a ferry back to Sorrento. However, instead of walking back for 40-minutes we opted for the local bus service to the centre of Capri and then took the cable car down to the marina – we simply could not face another uphill struggle.
Once we were back in Sorrento we weren’t overly hungry so decided instead of dinner we would simply have dessert. We went to Raki on Via S. Cesareo, which was without doubt the best gelato we had on our trip. Dark chocolate orange gelato – need we say more?!
On our third day we were up early and excited for our day trip to Positano. We picked up the bus from Sorrento Train Station which costs €10 each and takes around an hour to reach Positano. As we were up early we found it easy to catch a bus as well as a seat. However, these buses run from Sorrento to Positano to Amalfi, all the popular destinations along this route so they can become very busy – as we found out later that day.
Once we arrived in Positano we walked down from the main road into the town. We stopped off at multiple view points, explored the shops and the Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption, before finally reaching Positano’s main beach, Positano Spiaggia, where you’ll find the famous multicoloured houses on the cliff face.
We grabbed a quick smoothie – it was delicious – from L’incanto next to the beach before enquiring about a sun lounger on Positano’s private beach. However, the sun loungers were €25 each for the day which we thought was a little excessive, again Positano was not as cheap as Sorrento. So, we decided to sit on the sand on the beach just next door – we had the same view, the same sun and we were just as comfortable.
After a morning relaxing in the sun we decided to grab some lunch. We headed to Chez Black a very well known restaurant on the island with beautiful decor and visited by many the celebrity, they even have multiple photos across the walls with all the famous faces.
Now, obviously it was not the cheapest place but we made it work. We shared a delicious Margherita Pizza with a salad on the side and a bottle of water for €29. It may not sound like much but it was perfect for lunch. Plus, if we’re honest we throughly enjoyed the experience, even though we didn’t spend nearly as much as the table with the fish platter and lobster beside us.
For the afternoon we still wanted to relax and have a swim, so we walked to Fornillo Beach just around the corner from Positano Spiaggia. Fornillo Beach was a lot calmer and quieter, therefore the perfect place to swim and have a nap. We spent the rest of the day here until the sun started to set, then we headed to the local grocery store, bought some snacks and a bottle of wine, sat on Positano Spiaggia on watched the sunset behind the multicoloured houses.
After a perfect day we started to walk back up to the bus stop, getting slightly lost along the way, but we made it, right on time for the next bus back to Sorrento… or so we thought…
As mentioned earlier, the buses back to Sorrento start in Amalfi, which means everyone who visited Amalfi for the day is also going back on the same bus. So, at the time we thought the first bus would arrive it didn’t, then when the bus did arrive it was so packed barely five people squeezed on and we mean squeeezed. We thought we can wait for the next one, which yet again didn’t turn up on time. We started speaking to others who were waiting for a bus and discovered some people had been waiting for over three-hours because the buses coming back from Amalfi were so busy.
In the end we decided it wasn’t worth waiting for the next bus, probably not get on it and then have to wait again. The buses only ran until 10pm, it was now around 8pm. Luckily, two other girls we were talking to in the queue – who had been there for nearly three-hours – didn’t fancy waiting either. We started the ask around to see who wanted to get a six seater taxi back to Sorrento, unfortunately the others in the queue still had faith they would squeeze onto the next bus. The four of us paid €80 all together so €20 for a taxi back, not awful but not great.
Once we made it back to Sorrento we went straight to dinner, we found an adorable restaurant called Ristorante La Lanterna down an alley way off Via S. Cesareo. We were able to relax again with a glass of chilled white wine in hand and a delicious pasta.
On our last day in Italy we decided to stay in our beloved Sorrento, although Capri and Positano were amazing Sorrento stole our hearts. For a morning of sunshine we headed back down to the Sorrento coast, but this time we had drinks and sunbathed at Marameo Beach Restaurant, with a incredible view overlooking the Bay of Naples paired with refreshing smoothies – closely followed by an Aperol Spritz – it was the perfect place to spend our last morning.
On the way back to the hotel to change we finally picked up all those trinkets and souvenirs we’d spied along Via S. Cesareo on our first day. A Sorrento Christmas bauble for Natalie, a spaghetti measurer for Mum (which Dads already managed a drop and crack even though he doesn’t cook!?) and some Limocello chocolate for Dad. Of course, we also had to sample our last Limocello of the trip at Fabbrica di Limoncello – we would highly recommend the Dark Chocolate Limocello as a sample.
After stuffing all our new souvenirs into our hand luggage it was time to head back to Sorrento Train Station to jump on the coach back to Naples International Airport.
Southern Italy is an amazing place to spend a long weekend and finish the summer with a bang. If we’re honest we would have liked to have spent longer, maybe exploring Amalfi and Pompeii, or even just spending more time relaxing on Sorrento’s coast. One thing is for sure, we’ll be back. We’ll. Be. Back.